by Gerens Curnow May 14, 2018 5 min read

Italy is a country in Southern Europe, that projects into the Mediterranean Sea. It is home to 60 million people, Europe’s highest mountain (Mont Blanc) and also some of the richest and most historically significant artefacts that can be found anywhere in the world. From the bathhouses and the Colosseum to the ruins of Pompeii, Italy is a treasure trove of ancient monuments, items, and traditions.



Medical Schools in Italy Taught in English

Knowing why you want to work in the medical field and being able to articulate that at your medicine interview is crucial for med schools when they decide which of their applicants they are going to make offers to. Nothing supports your argument for commitment to medicine better than having had hands-on work experience to show for it, and for a lot of young adults that often comes in the form of volunteer work. 

  • University of Bari
  • University of Campania ‘Luigi Vanvitelli’
  • Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
  • Humanitas University*
  • University of Milan
  • University of Naples ‘Federico II’
  • University of Pavia
  • University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’
  • University of Rome ‘Tor Vergata’
  • Vita-Salute San Raffaele University*
(* denotes a private university)

These english speaking medical schools have fairly small cohorts, with 540 students in total being offered a place each year. Fees at the public medical schools (all except San Raffaele and Humanitas) are among the lowest in Europe. The average tuition fee is 1200 EUROS per annum. The actual tuition fee is based on family income provided by the student. Regardless, this is much lower than you will pay for an equivalent course in the United States, United Kingdom or Eastern Europe.

These are also extremely international courses, with students from all over the world benefiting from the enriching experience of studying medicine in such a beautiful and modern country. The University appreciates that some students may not know any Italian, and thus runs courses to help foreign students with daily life. This is alongside the lectures, books and exams which are all in English.



All of the Italian medical universities offer 6-year programmes only, which are all open to both graduate and undergraduate applicants. The courses take a modern approach to medical education, with problem-based learning being a key feature of the curriculum in several of the institutions. There remains, however, a strong emphasis on securing a strong knowledge base in the basic sciences prior to the commencement of clinical training, ensuring graduates from Italian universities have the knowledge as well as the skills to perform as successful and well-rounded doctors. With the relatively late exposure to patients, students can obtain a good level of Italian before engaging with the patients.

Many of the Universities also offer the chance to spend part of your medical degree in a partner University in Europe. You are treated like a student from that country. Pavia lets students exchange with medical students in the United States.

Entry requirements

None of the Italian medical schools set any minimum grade requirements or specific subject prerequisites for entry onto their English medical courses. They all, however, stipulate that applicants must have completed 12 years of education, and meet the requirements to apply for university in their own country. In the British system, this is equivalent to having achieved a passing grade in at least 3 GCE A-levels. Applicants are required to contact the Italian Embassy in their country of education in order to have this officially confirmed.

Admissions exams

All of the state-operated medical schools in Italy require candidates to sit the International Medical Admissions Exam (IMAT) in order to be accepted onto the course, and each university uses the score achieved in the IMAT test as the sole differentiating factor during the admissions process. Humanitas requires students to sit the IMAT for their medicine and surgery course but the testing dates are different. San-Raffaele University requires applicants to sit different exams which you can find out more about in our guidebook or on the University website. It is almost like the IMAT but slightly longer and with a different scoring system.
The IMAT is an exam much like the first two sections of the BioMedical Admissions Test. It is a 100-minute aptitude test with 60 questions covering logical reasoning, mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. View the test specification for more information. For IMAT preparation related info, head to the Cambridge Assessment and Admissions Testing website, where all of the past papers are published. It is actually a negatively marked exam. 
Each correct answer gains 1.5 points but each incorrect answer loses you 0.4 so students must be tactical in their answering, and doing lots of practice papers will help you to become familiar with the test format. 
As long as a prospective student meets the criteria as specified above, their application depends solely on their performance in the IMAT. There are no interviews, no discussion of personal statements and no minimum grade requirements (bar achieving what one would need to study a medical degree in their home country).


Medical students opinions

One of the strongest ‘pull-factors’ identified by current students on these English language courses is the diversity of the student body. With low tuition fees, low costs of living, and bountiful cultural heritage, Italy is an extremely appealing country for foreign students from all over the world, allowing those who attend to mix with people from a vast array of backgrounds. 

Another key benefit is the strength of the faculties, which the students feel are not only knowledgeable and experienced but also approachable and engaging. While some students feel that the organisation of the institutions has room for improvement, and others feel language barriers sometimes exist between the students and their teachers and patients, all the students interviewed for our guidebook would recommend their university and Italy as a whole as a great place to study medicine. The qualification you achieve is internationally recognised. It allows graduates to practise medicine in the UK, Europe, and apply to practise medicine further afield.

So how do I choose?

If studying medicine in Italy is something that might appeal to you, you will have to whittle down your choices. You should consider the minimal passing score for IMAT, and see whether this is achievable for you. You should think about the place you might be living - would you prefer to live in a large city (Rome, Naples or Milan) or does a smaller, more suburban or rural University appeal to you? Have a think about whether the course structure is right for you, and whether you feel you are getting a level of clinical exposure that is sufficient. 

If you are interested in learning more about studying medicine in Italy, view our guidebook "Get into Medical School Eastern Europe, Ireland & Italy". There is also a very useful resource at where a number of current medical students at English speaking universities in Italy provide application advice. It was founded by Alex Ochakovski who pursues his career in Ophthalmology and ophthalmic gene therapy research in Germany. It offers a good comparison of all the medical students, based on IMAT requirements, tuition fees, living costs, rankings and more.

We hope this information valuable in helping you determine if you want to apply for an english speaking medical school in Italy. If you have any questions or would like more information, email us at
Gerens Curnow
Gerens Curnow

Mr. Gerens Curnow is a Medical Student from the University of Exeter. He is the winner of two medical education grants from the Association for the study of Medical Education. He has given lectures to 70-100 A-level students on medical school applications. Additionally, he is the author of three of our Medical School Application Guidebooks.

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